by SC Reporter Teresa Vazquez
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part two of a three-part series on the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife Student Programs.
For six months, natural or biological science graduate students and veterinary technicians take part in The Center for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife’s Fellowship Student Program which current student, Deja Canter, describes as “all encompassing.”
“You get to work in every area of the hospital throughout your time here.” Canter said. “I think it’s really nice to be able to branch out from one specific niche and get experience in the rest of the clinic.”
Before making her way to Florida, Canter worked at the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in North Carolina where she learned about CROW. The program caught her eye, and for the last four months she has been a fellowship student.
Canter said that what made her head turn was how versatile the program was. She explained that as a fellowship student she has worked all over the center and with various patients. Her last facility treated an average of 1,500 patients yearly whereas CROW works with 5,000.
“I did come in with the mindset that I was going to learn a lot more than I already had and that’s definitely met my expectations,” Canter said.
She noted that there are new learning opportunities every day in each case that passes through the hospital, and every day looks a little different depending on where students are assigned.
Days spent in the baby rooms entail weighing the babies, getting their food ready, running an assessment and cleaning their cages. They also aid in daily vet checks on animals that may need a bit more help.
On the other hand, they may work with ICU patients who need extra care. Canter explained some of these patients require “tub time” where aquatic patients are placed in large tanks of water to ensure they do not lose their waterproofing abilities.
Working with ICU patients also consists of running bloodwork, physicals, x rays and more clinical processes.
These are processes Canter explained that aren’t taught everywhere. At CROW she learned to work with IV treatments and conduct bloodwork for the first time which allow staff to further understand the patient’s health.
Fellowship students may also work “upstairs” where the intake process takes place. Here they aid in the initial exam assessment, help establish treatment plans, and setting up patients in their designated space.
Canter’s personal favorite is working outside with the rehab staff because she hopes to get her wildlife rehabilitation license in the future. The patients here are held in flight enclosures or larger enclosures, require less intensive care, and are closer to being released back into the wild.
Aside from all of the unique experiences students will undergo at CROW, Canter said what makes it stand out most is it’s tight knit community which makes rehab possible.
“For rehab to work the way that it’s supposed to I think you need a very cohesive environment everybody needs to work together,” Canter said. “We don’t just need the vets or the interns or the rehab staff, everybody has to work together.”
Working together creates a unique flow that allows for a smoother process for the patients and staff. This is especially essential now that COVID-19 has cut the number of students and volunteers in half.
Canter shared that “everybody bands together” to help each other finish the days tasks– nobody is left behind.
CROW has taught Canter a lot in the past four months furthering her goal to continue learning more about the ins and outs of rehabilitation clinics like CROW. If she could only say one thing about CROW it would be how important it is for the community.
“It’s a really great facility and I am genuinely thankful that a place like this exists,” Canter said. “I just don’t think this area would be the same without a facility like CROW, and I’m really glad that it’s here.”